Randy Evans

Randy Evans

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 43-year-old nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for improved government transparency and citizen accountability. He can be reached at [email protected].


Misguided government proposal targets ‘vexatious’ people

By: - September 19, 2023

Many decades ago, Mrs. Gentry and Mr. Halferty put up with an inquisitive kid’s classroom questions about American democracy and the workings of government. I did not imagine back then how the meaning of some words could take on such importance in government. Take, for example, a much-talked-about word in Iowa last week, vexatious. It […]


Judicial ethics in Iowa differ from Washington ethics

By: - August 24, 2023

There were more disclosures in recent days in the ongoing saga involving the ethical standards of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court — or, more accurately, the lack of ethical standards. With each new disclosure about our nation’s highest court, the reputations of justices here on the Iowa Supreme Court take on more luster — […]


After another nursing home atrocity, it appears not all lives in Iowa are truly sacred

By: - August 14, 2023

Deanna Mahoney was like countless Iowa women through the years. She nurtured three children. She worked outside the home to supplement the family income. She loved bowling and mushroom hunting. That is how she lived. How she died tells us so much about the way some business owners, and too many government leaders in Iowa, […]


UFOs: The issue we didn’t know was an issue

By: - July 31, 2023

Silly me. I thought I had been paying attention to the issues about which Iowans feel strongly. You know, things like inflation, taxes, government spending, the war in Ukraine, a new farm bill, water quality, immigration, the federal debt. Those sorts of issues. But I have spaced off a vital issue in the minds of […]


Thin skin — and intolerance of free speech — plague some officials in Iowa

By: - July 25, 2023

Around the time the famous movie “The Bridges of Madison County” premiered in 1995, author Robert James Waller was at a book-signing in West Des Moines. Between scribbling his signature for fans on copies of his novel, Waller answered questions from a Des Moines Register reporter. At one point, the persnickety Iowan became peeved by […]


When ‘governing’ loses track of its purpose

By: - July 18, 2023

One of the photographs of my father that I clearly remember appeared on the pages of the Bloomfield Democrat about 60 years ago. Pop was standing chest-deep in a hole that had been hastily dug in the street on the Bloomfield city square. His face was grim. There was urgent work to be done, because […]


School and state board blunder in major transparency case

By: - June 27, 2023

These are challenging times for Iowa’s 327 public school districts. They are being watched closely by state officials and lawmakers, by parents and by others in the community. These eyes are looking for signs schools are treading lightly on topics like racial history and sexual orientation or that schools are being distracted from dealing with […]


Cameras in the courtroom are a must for Trump criminal case

By: - June 20, 2023

Forty-four years ago, the Iowa Supreme Court made an important change in the way the state courts operate — allowing journalists to bring their cameras and audio recorders inside courtrooms during hearings and trials to better inform the public about noteworthy cases. Iowa was a pioneer in making its court proceedings more accessible and transparent […]


Graduation invokes memories, gratitude for former Gov. Robert Ray

By: - June 6, 2023

Sue and I were in Washington, Iowa, last month. The purpose for our trip was a high school graduation. It was a special occasion because the people we joined with in honoring young Cameron, the newly minted Washington High School grad, have been our friends for almost 44 years. It is important to know that […]


Millions of reasons why outside scrutiny is important

By: - May 23, 2023

When FBI agents led a Dixon, Ill., official out of city hall in handcuffs and the charges against her became public, the most often asked question was, “How?” How did City Comptroller Rita Crundwell manage to embezzle an astounding $54 million from the northwest Illinois community of 15,700 people before she was finally detected? How […]


Why Iowa Freedom of Information Council is suing the Centerville School Board

By: - May 16, 2023

In 2017, the Iowa Legislature responded to concerns from Gov. Terry Branstad and amended Iowa law to ensure that when government employees are forced out of their jobs, the reasons must be made public and not shrouded in secrecy. The goal was commendable. The governor was right. People deserve to be told “why.” It is […]


Keeping Iowans in the dark about water quality is not acceptable

By: - May 5, 2023

If you watch the Iowa Legislature in action, there are some truisms you see time and again. Such as: Each political party is in favor of transparency and accountability — until they gain the majority. Then those politicians see many reasons why transparency and accountability are problematic. Another: If you don’t know where you are […]